Cambridge is to become the first city in Europe to get a bike-sharing scheme nicknamed ‘Uber for Bikes’ from a company that has taken China by storm, with 500 bright yellow bicycles set to appear on the streets of the university city next month.
Local cycle campaigners are concerned however that they could exacerbate existing problems regarding a lack of bicycle parking in the city centre.
The company behind them, Ofo, says it differs from other bike-sharing schemes such as London’s Santander Cycles in that no docking stations are required.
Instead, members use a smartphone app to unlock the bike and, once they’re finished with it, they simply reset the combination lock so the bike can await its next user.
It costs 50p per hire, irrespective of how long the bike is ridden for, or how far the journey is.
According to Wired, Ofo which launched in Beijing in 2015 now has around 3 million users in 34 cities in China, and earlier this month it began its expansion abroad with launches in Singapore and California’s Silicon Valley.
Dai Wei, co-founder of the business which is now valued at $500 million, said: “We are the first non-docking, bike-sharing platform in the world. You can find a bike anywhere and park it anywhere.”
But that issue may prove a sticking point according to Al Storer of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign.
“There’s nowhere enough cycle parking in the city centre,” he told Wired.
He added that the possibility of the bikes being stolen might also be an issue.
“Although this says a lot about how gentle a city Cambridge is, that bike theft is the leading crime,” he explained.
Ofo’s business model also allows members to share their own bicycles with others, if they wish, in return for free access to the company’s own bikes – although clearly the prospect of theft may deter many from doing so.
Times like this, you should be able to RIDDOR instances that involve commercial vehicles....
Nice bike! Was contemplating one to replace my nicked Cube Travel Ex... or maybe same again....
Agreed it's ropey - and still officially a work in progress I think. However imperfect as it is (I've reviewed it BTL here on road.cc) it is still...
The only cycling specific clothing I've worn in the 45-ish years since I learnt to ride are gloves although I started wearing a helmet about 5...
Or - for the more far-out - a lizard warning (beware reptilian overlords)?
Damn inaccurate startlists....
I wonder if you could use this to copensate for a puncture by leaving the pump on all the time??
My family have 3 See.Sense Aces....
door mirror not wing mirror ?
Love mine too, albeit I only have 11 spd :-(.